A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection that affects any part of the urinary system. This can include the urethra, bladder, kidneys, and ureters. Most urinary infections affect the lower urinary tract, which is made up of the urethra and the bladder. Women are at a higher risk of getting a urinary tract infection than men. Urinary infection that is limited to the bladder is not just annoying, but also quite painful. However, once the infection spreads to the kidneys, it can cause some severe complications. The conventional treatment for urinary tract infections is to follow the prescribed course of antibiotics. Since a urinary tract infection is such a painful and serious condition, it is better to take some steps to reduce the chances of getting the infection in the first place. Here are some ways to reduce the risk of a urinary tract infection.
It is not always possible to avoid getting a urinary tract infection, but it is possible to reduce your risk of getting one by following these prevention techniques.
5 Ways to Reduce the Risk of a Urinary Tract Infection
Drink Plenty of Fluids
One of the easiest ways to prevent a urinary tract infection is to remain well-hydrated throughout the day. Drinking more fluids will make you urinate frequently, thus flushing out any bacteria from the urinary tract.(1)
Instead of opting for fruit juices or sugary drinks, the best choice is to drink plenty of water. You should try to have at least six to eight glasses of water every day. If it is difficult for you to drink this much water, then you can also think about increasing your fluid intake by drinking decaffeinated herbal teas, milk, smoothies made with fruits and vegetables, or even sparkling water.(2)
You should make an effort to restrict or avoid having caffeinated drinks and alcohol as these are likely to irritate the bladder further, especially if you already have an infection.(3)
It is essential that you avoid holding in your urine. The longer urine remains in your bladder, the higher the chances of the bacteria multiplying and spreading.(4) It is natural that if you drink more fluids, you will need to urinate more frequently. Avoid waiting for more than three to four hours to pee. Also, empty your bladder completely every time you go to urinate. This helps flush out bacteria from the urinary tract before a potential infection gets the chance to set in.
The need to urinate regularly is especially important if you are pregnant since pregnancy increases the risk of getting a urinary tract infection. Holding in your urine is only going to increase this risk further.
Do not try to hold back your urine to the point when your bladder is already feeling full.
Wipe From the Front to the Back
The rectum is one of the primary sources of the bacteria E.coli, which causes many types of infections, including urinary tract infection. This is why it is always recommended that women should wipe their genitals from the front to the back after using the bathroom. This habit dramatically reduces the risk of bringing the E.coli bacteria from the anus to the urethra.
This habit becomes even more important to practice if you are suffering from diarrhea or any type of stomach infection. Diarrhea can make it challenging to have control over your bowel movements, increasing the risk of E.coli spreading from the anal region to the urethra and the vagina.(5)
Probiotics are essential for preventing many types of diseases and infections, and also for boosting your immune system. Probiotics are live microorganisms that help increase the amount of good bacteria in the gut. They are also known to help enhance the growth of good bacteria in the urinary tract, which helps protect you from getting a urinary tract infection.
Studies have found that the Lactobacillus strains in probiotics are associated with less frequent urinary infections in women.(6) Lactobacillus is, in any case, known to be an essential part of the healthy bacteria present in the female genitourinary tract. A reduction in the numbers of this beneficial bacteria can also increase the risk of getting a urinary tract infection.(7)
There are many ways in which you can include probiotics in your diet to boost the health of your urinary system. These include:
- Take probiotic supplements
- Eat fermented foods such as yogurt, tempeh, kefir, or sauerkraut
- Use probiotic suppositories
Urinate Before And After Intercourse
Sexual activity will sharply increase the risk of getting a urinary tract infection, especially in women. This is because, during sexual intercourse, it is extremely easy for bacteria to enter the urethra.
To reduce the risk of urinary infections from sexual intercourse, it is recommended that you urinate immediately before and after sex. Even if you are not able to pee before sex, urinating after sex is very important. This helps flush out any bacteria that might have entered through the vagina and may cause an infection.
It is also a good idea to wash the genital area after having sex. This helps keep the area clean and also reduces the likelihood of bacteria spreading to the urethra.(8)
There are many ways of reducing the risk of getting a urinary tract infection. These remedies are entirely natural and require almost zero effort to keep yourself sage. From following healthy bathroom habits to practicing safe sex and urinating before and after intercourse, you can dramatically cut down your risk of getting urinary infections.
Taking probiotics will also help boost the good bacteria present in the urinary tract, thus decreasing the chances of getting an infection.
If you are getting repeated urinary infections, then it is a good idea to talk to your doctor about the best ways to prevent an infection. Your doctor will guide you about the different options and will also help you determine the best option. Remember that these simple prevention techniques are always easier to follow than having to suffer from a painful and annoying infection.
- Beetz, R., 2003. Mild dehydration: a risk factor of urinary tract infection?. European journal of clinical nutrition, 57(2), pp.S52-S58.
- Plüddemann, A., 2019. Can drinking more water prevent urinary tract infections? The evidence says yes. BMJ evidence-based medicine, pp.bmjebm-2018.
- Scott, A.M., Clark, J., Del Mar, C. and Glasziou, P., 2020. Increased fluid intake to prevent urinary tract infections: systematic review and meta-analysis. British Journal of General Practice, 70(692), pp.e200-e207.
- O’grady, F. and Cattell, W.R., 1966. Kinetics of urinary tract infection: II. The bladder. British journal of urology, 38(2), pp.156-162.
- Simpson Jr, S., Blomfield, P., Cornall, A., Tabrizi, S.N., Blizzard, L. and Turner, R., 2016. Front-to-back & dabbing wiping behaviour post-toilet associated with anal neoplasia & HR-HPV carriage in women with previous HPV-mediated gynaecological neoplasia. Cancer epidemiology, 42, pp.124-132.
- Falagas, M.E., Betsi, G.I., Tokas, T. and Athanasiou, S., 2006. Probiotics for prevention of recurrent urinary tract infections in women. Drugs, 66(9), pp.1253-1261.
- University of Colorado Urogynecology. (2020). Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) | CU Urogynecology | Denver. [online] Available at: https://urogyn.coloradowomenshealth.com/patients/library/recurrent-uti [Accessed 8 Mar. 2020].
- HealthyWomen. (2020). Honeymoon Cystitis | HealthyWomen. [online] Available at: https://www.healthywomen.org/content/ask-expert/1330/honeymoon-cystitis [Accessed 8 Mar. 2020].
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